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Interview with Claire Sheppard, Green Party candidate and community campaigner
Can you tell us a bit about Nunhead Knocks?
It was started by a handful of folks local to Nunhead who had skills in tech, community connections and backgrounds in organising who wanted to find a way to help the many people in our neighbourhood who have been affected by the virus.
How did you get the idea for Nunhead Knocks? Is it just you?
I’ve been an admin for the community group Nunhead Rocks for 4 or 5 years and as soon as the Coronavirus crisis started I thought it would be a good idea if people who are self-isolating could be matched with very local people – ideally in their street. It struck me that you might not want to say “I need help” on a Facebook group and have some random person show up.
If you could be matched up with someone you recognise because they live across the street that would be a lot more reassuring. Through Nunhead Rocks I knew that we have a community of about 5,500 decent, kind people, who help each other out.
And the name?
Well, Nunhead Knocks rhymes with Nunhead Rocks, which is the name of our community Facebook page.
Why did you create a whole website? Why not just set up a Facebook page or a WhatsApp group?
Actually, I did start with Facebook. I created an email account and asked for help via Nunhead Rocks. At first, I thought I could manage it all on a spreadsheet. With my knowledge from Green Party campaigning I could co-ordinate people into different zones, using our leafleting maps. I wanted to combine my political campaigning with my community campaigning to help as many people as possible.
How long did it take to set up?
I ordered 5,000 leaflets a couple of Fridays ago, put a post on the Nunhead Rocks Facebook page and within 24 hours this amazing woman from Nunhead called Charlie got in touch. She said “This is a bit unwieldy. I could build you a website.” Within 36 hours of the Facebook post I was already getting overwhelmed with the volume of volunteers, so I said yes!
By the Sunday, Charlie and her partner Tom had built a website and we had created a small core team.
What area do you cover?
We cover the wards of Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham. We’ve broken them down into 29 hyper-local zones.
What help do you offer?
It’s based on my personal experience of being isolated at home when I had cancer 4 years ago. My 3 top priorities then were to make sure that
- I had food in the house
- My dog got walked
- I had people to talk to
Which is why we started with those 3 areas. But our volunteers have a huge range of skills.
How many volunteers have you got?
At the last count it was over 1450.
Can you give us some examples of people you’ve matched?
- a woman who is over 65, blind, and worried about getting food she normally gets meals from a local cafe that is now closed, with a volunteer to help her get meals.
- An oncologist whose local tube station had closed and needed to borrow a car to get to work, to someone who loaned them a car.
- A woman who told us that she has no children or friends, so feels very alone while self-isolating, to a volunteer who will chat with her regularly.
- A local pharmacy to volunteers to help them deliver prescriptions directly.
Is it safe to volunteer or ask for help? Will my personal data be protected?
This is something I feel very strongly about! My background is in market research and I used to work with the Central Office of Information before it was closed down. We could really do with their expertise in communication strategy for setting up this kind of social programme. I know the importance of building in safeguarding systems to protect personal data.
We’ve all been told to stay at home. How can I help without leaving the house?
There’s lots you can do! Part of the service is hooking people up with a neighbour who will check in with them every few days so that’s something a volunteer can do from home. There are also admin jobs – coordinating volunteers, putting systems and logistics in place…
It sounds like a great idea; can other people use your model?
Absolutely, it’s been designed with that in mind and we really want as many people as possible to use it.
How can people get involved?
If you’re in Nunhead or Peckham, go to https://www.nunheadknocks.com/
There is also have an offshoot in London Bridge and West Bermondsey https://www.londonbridgecommunity.com/ that was set up by Lib Dem Councillor, Humaira Ali who saw a post on the Southwark Mutual Aid Covid 19 Facebook page and got in touch about using our model.
A final word?
We really want to spread our model as widely as possible, not just London but nationwide. If anyone thinks they can help, get in touch via the website https://www.nunheadknocks.com/!
Thank you to Claire for sparing the time for this interview and for all the great work you and your team are doing!
Southwark Green Party objects to the proposal by Dolphin Living for the old Hunnex site at 35-39 Parkhouse Street, in Camberwell, just south of Burgess Park. This is for a 6-10 storey building with 100 flats.
This is one of several applications for tall buildings around the perimeter of Burgess Park, risking permanent destruction of the habitat and character of the park. (We have previously objected to the earlier Burgess Business Park proposal.) It is important not to set a precedent by approving this application.
Our key objections to this application are:
1) the buildings are too tall, in breach of Southwark Council policy
2) the residential density is too high, also in breach of policy
3) the development would have a detrimental impact on Burgess Park in terms of biodiversity and public use
4) lack of local public transport.
We support the building of new homes for social rent, but this development would be 65% market rent and only 15% social rent. There is no shortage of unaffordable homes in Southwark! In initial public consultations, the developers proposed to provide 50% 'affordable' homes, but this has now been reduced to 35% (the minimum required by Southwark).
Hello! I’m Claire Sheppard and I want to represent Camberwell and Peckham as your MP. I think it’s time for a change and for real action on the climate emergency.
Peckham has been my home for nearly 20 years. It’s where my husband and I chose to get married, start our own businesses and raise our family. I’m a local campaigner, volunteer and activist with a deep love and respect for the area.
Some of the community just got here, some have been here all their lives. What we all have in common is that we want to live in an area where the community is strong and united – and all of us want the best for each other.
- runs her own business, working from the Bussey Building in Peckham
- is an active shareholder in The Ivy House, London’s first co-operatively owned pub
- runs Nunhead Rocks community group
- set up the local branch of the Nunhead Women’s Institute and has been President three times
Her background and experience
- degree in politics and English literature
- professional experience working with government departments on campaigns for school dinners and healthy eating, and against drink driving, alcohol and substance abuse
- has run her own market research business for 7 years
Defend the NHS
Four years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I was treated with supreme care at local hospitals but I could see our NHS was creaking at the seams. That’s why I support the Green Party policy of protecting and investing in the NHS. We pay for public services, we use them, they belong to all of us.
Yes to Europe
Inequality, austerity and lack of investment in communities were the underlying reasons people voted to leave the EU. The Green Party will tackle those problems head on. We need a People’s Vote to let voters have the final say on their future, based on the facts as they are today.
No to climate change
The Green Party’s Green New Deal will replace fossil fuels with clean energy, build energy efficient new homes and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Only the Green Party is committed to making Britain carbon neutral by 2030. Vote Green to make our society work for everyone.
I love the people, the Peace Wall, the libraries, the microbrewers and microbakers and micropublishers, the parks, the dogs, the Coal Line. I love the view from One Tree Hill, the view from the cemeteries, the reservoirs, the Bussey, the car park, my living room window. I love how much all of those views matter to those who live here.
I love our independent bakers, cafés, florists, butchers, pharmacists, corner shops, dry cleaners, car washes, art trails, fetes, dog shows.
I adore all the choirs, crafting groups, the W.I., the fitness groups, quizzers, park runners, the dog walking community. I love our sports teams, especially Dulwich Hamlet FC.
Young people are leading the charge in the fight against climate change. Our individual actions aren’t enough, we need Green voices in Parliament and in every council to enact real change. We don’t have time to muck about.
Follow us on Twitter @SouthwarkGP @ShinyShep
New opportunities to make a Green vote count in Southwark
Uniting to Remain, Lib Dems step aside for the Green Party's co-leader Jonathan Bartley in Dulwich & West Norwood, while Hannah Graham of the Green Party steps aside in Bermondsey & Old Southwark.
The co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, has been selected to fight the seat of Dulwich and West Norwood in South London at the general election. The other Remain parties, the Lib Dems and Change UK, will not contest the seat as part of the 'Remain Alliance' organised by Unite to Remain. Voters in this constiituency have the opportunity to make history and elect London’s first Green Party MP.
The constituency of Dulwich & West Norwood is shared between the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. Both boroughs had high votes for 'Remain' in the 2016 referendum, with Lambeth polling at 78% and Southwark at 73%.
In the recent European elections in Dulwich and West Norwood, Remain parties (Lib Dems, Change UK and the Greens) received 64% of the vote. Labour achieved 19%, the Brexit Party 10% and the Conservatives just 4%.
In Bermondsey & Old Southwark, the Green Party will not field a candidate in the upcoming General Election, as part of a national series of electoral arrangements with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru.
This decision was not made lightly. Following a motion at the Green Party conference to enable national negotiations, and detailed local discussion, Green Party members in the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark were balloted on their views. We deeply regret that voters in some constituencies, including this one, are being denied the chance to vote Green.
In this climate emergency, it is more crucial than ever for the country to have more Green MPs. But in a First Past The Post voting system, smaller parties lose out. Voters feel disenfranchised, unable to vote for their real first choice. That's why we have always supported Fairer Votes, and a reform of the voting system.
A series of electoral arrangements has been made in a handful of constituencies across England and Wales to ensure the Remain vote is unified and to help elect more Green MPs in places like the Isle of Wight and Bristol West. We welcome the reciprocal action by the Liberal Democrats. This does not mean that the Green Party agrees with the Lib Dems on all issues or endorses their manifesto. A summary of the Green Party political programme can be found here.
Green Party candidate Hannah Graham is stepping aside in Bermondsey & Old Southwark. She said:
‘While I am very sorry not to be able to stand to represent people living in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, I believe this arrangement is the best way forward for local people. It shows that Greens are willing to work with other parties for the common good.
‘I will continue to support Greens in the general election campaign in Southwark. I will be heading over to Dulwich and West Norwood where Jonathan Bartley is standing. He’s a well-known spokesperson for the national party and a councillor in Lambeth. I will also be supporting incredible local activist Claire Sheppard who is standing as the Green Party candidate in Camberwell and Peckham.
‘I urge Green supporters from all over Southwark to support Jonathan and Claire. Have a look on greenparty.org.uk and southwarkgreenparty.org.uk to find out what’s happening near you, and follow @SouthwarkGP on Twitter and Facebook.’
Hannah Graham is also a candidate on the Green Party list for the London Assembly. This is an election conducted under a proportional voting system and voters across Southwark will be able to vote for Hannah to become a London Assembly member, joining existing Green Assembly Members Sian Berry and Caroline Russell, in May 2020.
Your Green Party candidates in Southwark
Camberwell & Peckham
Nunhead resident and local activist Claire Sheppard will be standing for the Green Party. Claire set up the Nunhead and Peckham branch of the Women's Institute, and campaigns for climate and social justice.
Dulwich & West Norwood
Jonathan Bartley is co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, a councillor in St Leonard's ward, Lambeth, and Leader of the Opposition on Lambeth council.
More information about Jonathan and his campaign can be found here.